China pledges financial, training assistance to Afghanistan

 

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad Osmani

(3rd from right) co-chair the fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul

Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Yin Gang

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd from right) and his Afghan counterpart Zarar

Ahmad Osmani co-chair the 4th Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process

on Afghanistan in Beijing on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Yin Gang

 

 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad

Osmani attend a press conference after the fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the

Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on Octobr 31, 2014.   Photo by Yin Gang

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses the opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial

conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on Friday of October 31, 

2014. Li Keqiang and visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai attended the

opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process

on Afghanistan Friday in Beijing.   Photos by Wang Ye

 

 

 

China pledges financial,

training assistance

to Afghanistan

 

By Hao Yalin

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses the opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial

conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on October 31, 2014.  

Photo by Wang Ye

 

China pledged to provide non-reimbursable assistance of 500 million yuan (about 81.43 million U.S. dollars) to Afghanistan this year at an international meeting on Afghanistan held in Beijing on Friday of October 31.

China will provide non-reimbursable assistance of 1.5 billion yuan (about 244 million U.S. dollars) over the upcoming three years to Afghanistan, to help the country train 3,000 people of all circles in the upcoming five years and provide 500 scholarships, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang while addressing the opening ceremony of the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

“Firm support for Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction should be concrete action instead of verbal commitment,” the premier said.

He pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, agriculture, water conservation and mineral resources exploitation.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pledged that the Chinese side will implement assistance and training plans, and try to open training courses on anti-terrorism, drug control and disaster management.

China will have a broader and deepened participation in cooperation under the framework of the Istanbul Process, and promote Afghanistan-related regional cooperation, Wang said.

Started in 2011, the Istanbul Process is the only Afghanistan-related cooperation mechanism led by regional countries.

To promote result-oriented cooperation through practical means, the Istanbul Process has identified a number of confidence building measures (CBM) in areas including anti-terrorism, drug control, disaster management, trade and investment opportunity, regional infrastructure construction and education to be jointly implemented by interested participating and supporting countries and organizations.

According to Wang, 15 cooperation programs in those areas have been conducted over past year, which have seen good results.

Sixty-four more priority programs were identified in Friday’s ministerial conference, which will help Afghanistan develop its national governance, self-development, public security and defense, Wang said.

He called on all parties involved to implement these programs, provide financial or technological assistance and strengthen cooperation.

Wang also stressed that realizing political reconciliation as soon as possible and strengthening Afghanistan’s capability building were of vital importance to its transition process.

He hoped all political parties in Afghanistan work toward the realization of inclusive political reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation. He called on the Istanbul Process to play an important and constructive role in helping Afghanistan .

Premier Li also presented a five-point proposal for the solution of Afghan issue, including insisting self-governance of the Afghan people, promoting political reconciliation among different Afghan political parties, speeding up economic reconstruction, exploring a development path for the country, and strengthening external support.

The international community should respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, not interfere with its internal affairs and support Afghanistan’s efforts to realize security and stability, Li said.

He called on the country’s political parties to lay aside former enmity and join the reconciliation process. The international community should support the Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process and create a suitable environment for the peaceful reconciliation, he said.

He urged the international community to fulfill assistance commitments and help Afghanistan achieve sustained economic development.

He said the international community should respect the choice of the Afghan people regarding the country’s development path and social system.

The international community should also support Afghanistan in developing relations with other countries and to participate in global and regional cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and reciprocity, and help it build up security security capability, Li added.

He also voiced support for the UN to play a leading role in coordinating the global efforts to assist Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who is paying his first China visit since taking office in September, agreed with Li’s proposals while addressing the opening ceremony.

He said the Istanbul Process would lay the foundations for an early solution to the Afghan issue as well as the region’s peace and stability. He also hailed the important contribution China made to expedite the process.

Friday’s conference is the first time China has hosted an Afghanistan-related international meeting. This was also the first meeting since the new Afghan government assumed office.

Beijing Declaration was released after the meeting.

The declaration said the fourth ministerial conference is a crucial opportunity for enhancing cooperation through achieving consensus among the “Heart of Asia” countries and the wider international community on achieving lasting peace, sustainable security and economic development in Afghanistan and in the “Heart of Asia” region.

“We believe that the new government will make every effort to continue to successfully lead the “Heart of Asia”- Istanbul Process and realize its objectives in building confidence and enhancing cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan and the region,” the declaration said.

“We commit to maintain the input into the capacity building and support of the Afghan National Security Forces, according to the declaration, ” it said.

In the declaration,the ministers called on the Taliban to renounce violence, cut ties with all terrorist groups and institutes supporting these groups, and respect the Afghan Constitution, and called on all parties to encourage the Taliban towards reconciliation.

“We support the initiation of the reconciliation process as soon as possible. We welcome the contribution by the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries to this process, ” it said.

The declaration reiterated that terrorism and extremism pose a serious threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan, affirming the determination to enhance regional cooperation to dismantle their sanctuaries and training bases, cut off their sources of funding, combat arms, lethal goods smuggling, and strengthen border control in the region and beyond. “We strongly condemn all forms and manifestation of terrorism, particularly those targeting innocent civilians,” it said.

The declaration called on the international community to provide further support and assistance to Afghan refugees to enable their voluntary repatriation and resettlement in Afghanistan in a safe, timely and dignified manner.

“We commit to pursue opportunities to enhance regional economic cooperation and call upon the rest of the international community to fulfill their commitments to the long-term development of Afghanistan,” it said.

The declaration expressed hope that the United Nations support the Afghanistan during the transition period. “We also emphasize stronger coordination and collaboration with the ‘Heat of Asia’-Istanbul Process by the supporting regional and international organizations.”

According to the declaration, Pakistan will host the fifth ministerial meeting of the Istanbul Process in 2015.

 

 

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and guests pose for group photos ahead of the opening

ceremony of the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan

in Beijing on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Wang Ye

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (3rd from left

of front row) and other guests pose for group photos ahead of the opening ceremony of

the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing

on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Wang Ye

 

 

 

 

 

Full text:

Speech by Premier Li Keqiang

at Fourth Ministerial Conference of

Istanbul Process on Afghanistan

 

By Hao Yalin

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process on Afghanistan held in Beijing on Friday morning.

Following is the full text of his speech, titled “Let Us Join Hands to Promote Security and Prosperity of Afghanistan and the Region”.

Your Excellency President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai,

Distinguished Foreign Ministers and Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,x Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan together with President Ashraf Ghani. Let me extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, welcome to President Ashraf Ghani, distinguished foreign ministers, guests and friends and warm congratulations on the opening of the conference.

Since its inception in 2011, the Istanbul Process has become a unique regional cooperation mechanism on Afghanistan and offered an important platform for countries in the region and the wider international community to enhance communication, understanding, coordination and cooperation on Afghanistan. Continued progress of the Istanbul Process will help bring about an early solution to the Afghan issue and the ultimate attainment of durable peace, stability, and economic and social development in the region.

The fourth Ministerial Conference is the first important international conference on Afghanistan since the elections in Afghanistan. We hope that this conference will send a clear signal of strong support of countries in the region and the international community to a smooth transition, security and development in Afghanistan, reiterate their long-standing commitment to peace and reconstruction there, and demonstrate their full confidence in the future of the country.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Afghanistan holds an important geographical position as it connects South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia, bordering China to the east. A shining pearl on the ancient Silk Road, Afghanistan was once where civilizations met and numerous kingdoms left their marks in history. More than 2,100 years ago, Zhang Qian, an envoy of China’s Western Han Dynasty, recorded an Afghanistan bustling with travelling merchants and trade caravans. The Gandharan art, once flourishing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is known across the world and had great influence on the murals and sculptures in ancient China.

The Afghan issue has been a regional and international hotspot issue since the end of the 1970s. The international community deeply sympathizes with the Afghan people who have suffered from turmoil and war over the past 30 years and more. Afghanistan is now at a crucial stage of political, security and economic transition. The Afghan people now face new opportunities to realize unity, stability, peace, reconstruction and development. Meanwhile, the task remains formidable and daunting.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

A united, stable, growing and friendly Afghanistan is what the Afghan people hope for and it represents the common interests of countries in the region and the international community. It is important that we vigorously support Afghanistan’s peace process and its reconstruction, and work for an early solution of the Afghan issue, as this is the unshirkable and common responsibility of countries in the region and the international community at large. Here, I wish to raise five points regarding the settlement of the Afghan issue.

First, Afghanistan must be governed by the Afghan people. This means that the Afghan people should be allowed to take their destiny into their own hands and truly become the masters of their country. In the end of the day, Afghan affairs should be managed by the Afghan people. We believe that the Afghan people have the ability and wisdom to run their own affairs well and ultimately achieve peace and stability in the country. The international community should truly respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, refrain from interfering in its internal affairs, and firmly support Afghanistan in its efforts to achieve security and stability at home.

Second, promote political reconciliation. As a Chinese saying goes, “Harmony at home brings prosperity.” The Afghan people long for peace and stability. A torn Afghanistan fraught with internal strife will not be able to come out of the war or poverty. To achieve durable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan, it is imperative to promote a broadly-based, inclusive political reconciliation. We call on all political parties in Afghanistan to leave behind past grievances, join the political reconciliation process, and discuss ways to achieve peace and development of their country. The international community should support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, and create an enabling external environment for peace and reconciliation to happen in Afghanistan.

Third, speed up economic reconstruction. Stability underpins development, while development guarantees stability. Poverty and backwardness breed extremism. Only when economically developed, will Afghanistan ensure its people a prosperous and happy life. Only commitment to growing the economy can lead to improved lives of the people. There is an adage in China, “Give people fish and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” The international community should fulfill its assistance commitment and help Afghanistan enhance its self-development capacity and realize sustained economic development.

Fourth, explore the path of development. Afghanistan faces daunting tasks of rebuilding itself from the ravages of prolonged war and turbulence. It now stands at a crucial stage of national development. The unique history, culture and the national realities of Afghanistan have determined that there is no ready development model for it to copy. The future path of Afghanistan must be identified by the Afghan people in light of national realities. The international community should respect the right of Afghan people to independently choose social system and development path, so that they can develop a way of governance that suits their national conditions and achieve enduring political stability and sustained economic development.

Fifth, provide stronger external support. Without support and assistance from the international community, especially from regional countries, Afghanistan will not be able to achieve genuine peace and stability. The international community should give firm support to Afghanistan in developing external relations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and, in particular, in strengthening good-neighborly relations with other countries in the region. It should support Afghanistan in taking an active part in regional and international cooperation to integrate more deeply into regional economic cooperation. It should help Afghanistan with security capacity-building and support the United Nations in playing a leading role in coordinating international assistance so that assistance efforts from various parties may complement and reinforce each other and form synergy.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

China and Afghanistan have been neighbors from generation to generation. “Neighbors wish each other well, just as family members do.” Peace and stability in Afghanistan have a direct bearing on China’s security and stability. The Chinese government has firmly supported and actively participated in the Afghan peace and reconstruction process. Since 2001, China has exempted Afghanistan’s matured debts, provided 1.52 billion RMB yuan of grant assistance, and built a number of major projects to the benefit of the Afghan people’s livelihood. That included the Kabul Republic Hospital, Parwan Hydraulic Project Rehabilitation Work, the National Education Center of Science and Technology, and the complex of the Chinese Language Department of Kabul University. China has also trained more than 1,000 Afghan professionals in various fields. China will continue to provide necessary assistance and support to Afghanistan, do what it can as a neighbor and fulfill due responsibilities of a big developing country.

 China firmly pursues a policy of friendship with Afghanistan, and remains committed to deepening mutually-beneficial cooperation with Afghanistan in various fields and promoting steady progress of the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership between the two countries.

 China firmly supports Afghanistan in advancing the peace and reconciliation process, and will continue to play a constructive role in this process.

 China firmly supports peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and will help Afghanistan, not in words but with concrete actions, to enhance capacity-building for independent development. China is ready to step up cooperation with Afghanistan in such areas as infrastructure, agriculture, water conservancy and the exploration and utilization of mineral resources. China has decided to offer Afghanistan grant assistance of 500 million RMB yuan this year, and 1.5 billion RMB yuan in the coming three years. China will also train 3,000 Afghan professionals in various fields and offer 500 scholarships in the next five years. China will continue to expand security training and assistance to Afghanistan.

 China firmly supports Afghanistan in joining regional cooperation to the benefit of increased trade, closer economic cooperation and greater connectivity in the region. China wishes to see Afghanistan fully leverage its geographical and resource advantages, and actively participate in China’s Silk Road economic belt initiative. China’s competent departments will send working groups to have thorough consultation with Afghanistan on specific cooperation programs. China takes and will continue to take an active part in the cooperation on Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) within the framework of the Istanbul Process, and plans to hold training sessions on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and disaster management for Afghanistan this year.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

The Afghan issue is vital to the wellbeing of the Afghan people. It also concerns the people in the region and beyond. To the Afghan people who have suffered enormously from war and turbulence and who look forward with great expectation to the future, nothing is more important and valuable than understanding, support and help from their neighbors and friends. Today, the foreign ministers and senior representatives from 46 countries and international organizations, including members, support countries and guests of the host country of the Istanbul Process, are gathered in Beijing to discuss important measures to achieve peace, development and security in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole. This in itself sends a positive signal to the whole world: we have a common goal, which is to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan at an early date; and we have a common vision, which is to help Afghanistan, a shining pearl once, to regain its splendor at an early date.

As an Afghan proverb goes, as long as there is determination to climb to the mountain top, one is always able to find a path. We in China also have a saying, that is, a thousand-mile journey begins with the first step. This Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan marks a good beginning for Afghanistan-related regional and international cooperation in the new era. And I believe it will yield positive results with our in-depth discussions and consultations. Let us work together and make continued and unremitting efforts for sustained development, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole.

I wish the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan a complete success.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

ANKARA

>>  Turkey committed to Istanbul Process to help Afghanistan

Turkey vowed to continue supporting Afghanistan at an international meeting on Afghanistan held in Beijing on Friday of October 31, reflecting Ankara’s long-held policy of shoring up stability in the heart of Asia.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has attended to the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, which was convened in China’s capital.

“Turkey will continue to support Afghanistan in every platform, ” Cavusoglu said in his address to the high-level participants at the conference.

Recalling that Istanbul Process on Afghanistan started with the initiatives of Turkey in 2011, the Turkish foreign minister said his country wishes to sustain positive atmosphere in Afghanistan and help contribute to the steps jointly taken by the international community in the fields of security, economy, politics and confidence-building measures.

“The stability and security in Afghanistan is vital to Turkey, just as the case for many others in the region,” Abdullah Bozkurt, Turkish columnist at Today’s Zaman daily in Ankara said.

“In addition to historical ties Turkey has with Afghanistan, the trade and business opportunities in Afghanistan are also important for Turkey to link up with central and south Asia,” he told Xinhua.

Turkey maintains hundreds of troops in Afghanistan but never assumed any role in combat missions but rather involved in providing security, reconstruction and training.

It also helps develop the Afghan police force and has trained thousands Afghani officers so far.

Ankara also helped reconstruct Wardak and Jowzjan provinces in the country, provided funds for Afghan government and built schools, hospitals and roads.

The Istanbul Process identified a number of confidence building measures (CBM) in areas including anti-terrorism, drug control, disaster management, trade and investment opportunity, regional infrastructure construction and education to be jointly implemented by interested participating and supporting countries and organizations.

Turkey has already committed in helping Afghanistan on several of these CBMs.

“The investment in Afghan educational system by Turkish government and non-governmental organizations in terms of strengthening CBMs identified in Istanbul process has delivered very promising results,” Mesut Cevikalp, Ankara-based analyst, told Xinhua.

Kabul’s international Afghan-Turkish schools won 204 medals (57 gold, 73 silver and 74 bronze) in science competitions across the world in 2014.

“Education is the ultimate panacea to battle with extremism and terror that wreaked a havoc in Afghanistan for decades,” Cevikalp underlined.

So far, Turkish-Afghani schools have collected 563 medals in Science Olympiads.

Turkey also mediates between Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan through the trilateral Ankara Process, which sponsors meetings of senior Afghan and Pakistani ministerial and intelligence counterparts as well as Tripartite Summit meetings with head of state level representatives from Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2007.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkish troops will continue to stay in Afghanistan for two more years.

“France withdrew (its troops from Afghanistan) but we are still there,” he said in Paris during a visit to France.

France ended combat operations in November 2012 and pulled out its troops from NATO mission in Afghanistan that will expire by the end of this year.

The Turkish president paid a one-day visit to Afghanistan in mid-October and met newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

During The Turkish president’s visit, both countries have signed a strategic cooperation agreement in the fields of security, reconstruction, trade, and investment.

 

 

 

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad

Osmani attend a press conference after the fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of

the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Yin Gang

 

 

Chinese state councilor meets Iranian foreign minister

By Liu Dongkai

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday.

Zarif is in Beijing to attended the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan held on Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani have met several times over the past year. The two countries have maintained close contact between high-level officials and steady growth of practical cooperation, Yang said.

He said China was ready to work with Iran to advance bilateral relations.

Yang said that all relevant parties should seize the current momentum and work toward a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue at the earliest possible date.

Zarif said Iran placed great importance on developing relations and expects to further deepen friendly cooperation with China.

He expressed appreciation for the unique and important role China played in the Iranian nuclear issue.

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTARY

Afghan president’s China tour

augurs well for peace, prosperity in region

 

By Haleem

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the first foreign leader to embrace Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s visit, a clear indication of the importance that Beijing has attached to its relations with its neighbor.

While China is currently the world’s second largest economy and an emerging global power, its neighbor Afghanistan remains plagued by the Taliban-induced violence and terrorism causing the country’ s economy and stability to suffer.

The visit, therefore, of Ghani to Beijing was propitious and largely beneficial to Kabul not only in terms of enhanced bilateral trade relations but also in promoting peace and stability in the region.

The highlight of Ghani’s four-day state visit to Beijing was his meeting President Xi and the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Ghani also met with Premier Li Keqiang and other top Chinese officials. The Afghan leader was accompanied by top officials of the newly-installed unity government in Kabul and several Afghan businessmen.

As part of his China visit, the Afghan president attended on Friday the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process. This year, the edition of the conference was hosted by China.

Aimed at boosting regional cooperation and strengthening security and development in Afghanistan and its neighbors, the Istanbul Process, also known as Heart of Asia process, was launched in Istanbul, Turkey in November 2011.

The Istanbul Process has been trying to resolve the blame game between Kabul and Islamabad on the issue of the Taliban and other insurgent groups operating in the mountains that separate Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Kabul has oftentimes claimed that the Taliban have used their sanctuaries in Pakistan in launching attacks in Afghanistan, indicating that the Islamabad government has prior knowledge of the attacks, a charge that has been repeatedly denied by Pakistani authorities.

Since China is both friendly to Kabul and Islamabad, analysts say Beijing can be relied upon to use its influence and vast resources to resolve the long-standing feud.

One of the more tangible results of Ghani’s visit to Beijing was China’s grant of 500 million yuan (81.8 million U.S. dollars) to Afghanistan for 2014 and a further 1.5 billion yuan for the next three years from 2015 to 2017.

Availing of the opportunity in the post-Taliban Afghanistan, China has invested in the mega economic project of Aynak Cooper Mine and Oil and Gas Field that has benefited both countries.

China, as a big power, can help Afghanistan achieve lasting peace and economic stability, said Samimullah Samim, an Afghan legislator.

The Afghan media have attached great importance to Sino-Afghan relations as shown by their extensive coverage of Ghani’s visit to China and his meetings with Chinese leaders.

Needless to say, China, as super economic power and good friend of Afghanistan and Pakistan, can use its political clout and economic influence in curbing militancy and stabilizing Afghanistan.

The centuries-old strong ties between Afghanistan and China have endured through the years because of their shared goals in prompting peace and prosperity in the region.

 

 

 

 

KABUL

>>  Ghani: China to help Afghanistan

in conducting national infrastructural plan

By Faridbehbud

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said Saturday that China will help Afghan government in launching a national plan focusing on strengthening Afghanistan’s infrastructure arrangement. “Following the recent commitment and promises by China, a high ranking Chinese delegation will visit Afghanistan in the near future. The delegation will work with a delegation from the Afghanistan side to give a practical shape to those promises,” Ghani told reporters one day after returning from a four-day state visit to China.

China will help Afghanistan to frame a National Infrastructural Plan in the coming six months, Ghani said. “The meaning of the National Infrastructural Plan is how we will decide about building roads, railways, hydro power dams, houses and settlement and that how we will learn from successful experience of China and the East Asia,”Ghani said.

To a query regarding China’s assistance to Afghan security forces, the Afghan leader noted that the two sides had reached an agreement in principle, adding that China will help Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in training and equipping the ANSF in countering roadside bombs and landmines besides helping them on air transporting

China will donate 500 million yuan (about 81.4 million U.S. dollar) by the end of 2014 and will provide with 1.5 billion yuan (about 244 million U.S. dollars) in the upcoming three years to Afghanistan, the Afghan president said.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW POST | updated on November 2, 2014

 

Pashto-speaking Chinese welcome

Afghan President’s invitation

 

By Chen Hanqi

 

Chinese media practitioners, teachers and students, who have learned or are studying Pashto, Afghanistan ‘s main language, welcomed the invitation extended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to Pashto-speaking Chinese to spend a part of their careers in the country.

During a recent interview with Xinhua, President Ghani expressed the hope that young Chinese learning Pashto and Dari will spend part of their career in Afghanistan and Afghans learning Chinese will become bridges with China and have part of their careers in China.

“We will be delighted that Chinese youth are learning Pashto and Dari,” he said, adding that he himself has spent part of his career in China, referring to his experience of serving as a World Bank official to visit China several times.

President Ghani has just concluded a successful four-day state visit to China, the first country he visited since he took office in September.

Director Xi Meng of the Pashto Section of China Radio International told Xinhua that he was glad that President Ghani has extended the invitation.

“This will give me the chance to improve on my Pashto and my ability to understand Afghanistan and its people. Pashto has been playing a key role in my daily work ever since I graduated from the university around 10 years ago,” Xi said.

Although China and Afghanistan are neighboring countries, majority of the Chinese people only know Afghanistan as a country plagued by the Taliban-induced violence and terrorism, with a slim understanding of the rich Afghan culture and language.

“But despite conflicts and violence, there is now more hope for peace and stability in this war-torn country. I am happy that Chinese and Afghan colleges have set up educational programs on each other’s language,” Xi said.

Xi said that in subways in Beijing he often heard Afghan students speaking Pashto, adding that it is a pity that Chinese students are unable to travel to Afghanistan for studies due to security reasons.

“I sincerely hope the country could achieve peace and national reconciliation so that Chinese students and investors could come to Afghanistan, which would definitely benefit both countries,” Xi said.

The Pashto Class of Communication University of China (CUC), from which Xi Meng has learned the language, enrolls only about a dozen students once in every four years.

Shan Dan, a lecturer in Pashto at CUC, stressed the importance of education and people-to-people contact. “Education is always the driving force behind the development of a nation. As a scholar in Pashto language in China, I would like to contribute to the interaction between the two countries,” Shan said.

Students and faculty members at the CUC have expressed great expectations of spending part of their academic life in Kabul to further improve their command of Pashto.

Jiang Zimin, the 20-year-old student in the CUC Pashto Class, told Xinhua that as one of the 13 students in the class, he was happy that President Ghani has realized the need to encourage the interest of Chinese youths to learn the Afghan language. “I am looking forward to exchange programs or job opportunities for Pashto-speaking Chinese in Afghanistan,” Jiang said.

Liu Jingbo, Jiang’s classmate, said that he hoped he and his classmates in the Pashto class could help bridge the language and cultural barrier between the two countries and contribute to a more harmonious relationship between the Chinese and Afghan people.

Two CUC Pashto class alumni, Wang Heng, a former Chinese diplomat, and Lin Jing, former correspondent in Xinhua’s Kabul Bureau, have both worked more than a year in Kabul.

Both Wang and Lin have expressed hope that under the stewardship of President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan will be able to overcome its security and economic problems and finally achieve peace and prosperity.

 

 

 

 

Commercial spacecraft crashes in test flight

 

 

LOS ANGELES

Commercial spacecraft

crashes in test flight

 

By Li Rong

 

A passenger rocket plane developed by Virgin Galactic exploded on Friday of October 31 during a powered test flight over California, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other.

Local TV footage showed debris of the spaceflight vehicle known as SpaceShipTwo scattered over a large area in Mojave desert.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

Two pilots were on board when the explosion and crash happened. After the anomaly, at least one parachute was reportedly sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the base from which SpaceShipTwo and its carrier plane took off.

The California Highway Patrol confirmed a local media report that one person was dead and another had suffered major injuries. The survivor was flown to hospital by air ambulance.

The explosion came after the vehicle dropped away from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its hybrid rocket engine, said Stuart Witt, head of the launch base.

Nothing seemed abnormal during the takeoff, Witt told a news conference.

Despite the explosion of SpaceShipTwo, the WhiteKnightTwo carrier landed safely.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides told a news conference.

He said Virgin Galactic will give support to investigation. “We are going to get through it,” he said.

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way to the site.

SpaceShipTwo, which has been under development at Mojave Air and Space Port in a desert northeast of Los Angeles, is designed to carry two pilots and six passengers on suborbital spaceflights. Tickets to such a ride cost 250,000 U.S. dollars each.

Virgin Galactic, a British commercial spaceflight company, has been trying for years to popularize trips about 100 km above earth — the beginning of outer space, where the tourists would be able to experience weightlessness.

The crash was the second catastrophe in the commercial space industry in a week. On Tuesday night, an unmanned rocket operated by private U.S. firm Orbital Sciences Corp. exploded seconds after its launch.

 

 

 

 

Updated !!!

>>  Commercial spacecraft crashes in test flight in California

By Guo Shuang

A passenger rocket plane developed by Virgin Galactic crashed after explosion on Friday during a test flight over California, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other.

The suborbital vehicle was undergoing its first powered test flight over the Mojave Desert, about 150 km north of Los Angeles.

The vehicle known as SpaceShipTwo was slung beneath a carrier plane for takeoff from the Mojave Air and Space Port at about 9:20 a.m. (1620 GMT). When the paired planes reached a height of about 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) about 40 minutes later, SpaceShipTwo was released for the test.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

There was an explosion about two minutes after SpaceShipTwo dropped away from the carrier aircraft and fired the rocket engine.

Two pilots were on board. At least one parachute was reportedly sighted.

The California Highway Patrol confirmed to a local media that one pilot was dead and the other had suffered major injuries in the accident. The survivor was flown to hospital by air ambulance.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” George Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic, told a news conference.

The carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, landed safely, said the British commercial company.

The flight marked the first use of a new type of fuel to power the ship’s engine. Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo’s fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix and hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine’s performance.

Kevin Mickey, president of Mojave-based Scaled Composites, said that the engines using the new type of fuel had been thoroughly tested on the ground. Scaled Composites has played a key role in developing and testing SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was also investigating the crash. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way to the site.

SpaceShipTwo, which has been under development at Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles, is designed to carry two pilots and six passengers on trips about 100 km above the Earth — the beginning of outer space, where the tourists would be able to experience weightlessness. Tickets cost 250,000 U.S. dollars each.

Virgin Galactic had planned to start such trips as early as next year.

The crash was the second catastrophe in the commercial space industry in a week. On Tuesday night, an unmanned rocket operated by private U.S. firm Orbital Sciences Corp. exploded seconds after its launch.

 

 

 

 

Doctors perform first heart surgery on foetus in woman’s womb in India

 

 

Doctors perform first heart surgery

on foetus in woman’s womb in India

 

By Jit Kumar

 

In a medical feat carried out for the first time in India, doctors at a hospital in the southern city of Hyderabad claimed to have reportedly performed a heart surgery on a foetus in a 25-year-old woman’s womb, local media reported on Friday of October 31.

The doctors at Care Hospital said that they had to perform the heart surgery on the foetus to correct a serious condition that has no cure once the baby is born.

“At 25-26 weeks, the left ventricle started deteriorating, getting damaged and shrinking. We realized this is going to be a serious condition where the left side of the heart will be too small and not useful and it won’t be possible to perform surgery after birth,” K. Nageswara Rao, the cardiac surgeon, told the media.

He added “so we decided to go for this procedure called foetal aortal volvotomy.”

 

 

 

China’s eased mortgage policies spur sales, sector pressure remains

 

 

China’s eased mortgage policies

spur sales, sector pressure remains

 

By Rong Jiaojiao

 

China’s decision to relax mortgage lending rules a month ago has helped market sentiment and sales, but pressure in the property sector remains due to excess inventory.

Data from the China Index Academy revealed that, from October 19 to October 25, residential property sales in most of the 21 monitored first- and second-tier cities rose, with sales growth in Beijing and Shenzhen hitting 17.78 percent and 36.13 percent, respectively, compared with September.

In the second-hand housing sales market, fallout from the eased mortgage measures was even more obvious. Statistics from Homelink, China’s largest chain real estate broker, showed that transactions in Beijing from Oct. 1 to Oct. 26 doubled compared with last month.

The U.S. rating agency Moody’s predicted in its China Property Focus Newsletter that nationwide residential sales in China will improve in the fourth quarter of 2014 following supportive policies.

The year-over-year decline in total contracted sales for China’s residential property market will slow to 5 to 10 percent for the full year of 2014 compared with a drop of 10.8 percent for the first nine months of 2014, Moody’s estimated.

“With easier mortgage availability, at least 30 percent more home buyers will jump into the property market because upgraders, who are shopping for better properties, are able to enjoy the same mortgage benefits as first-time buyers,” said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline Property.

China on September 30 unveiled eased mortgage measures for home buyers in a joint announcement by the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

According to the announcement, mortgages on second homes will be treated as a first mortgage if the buyer has no other outstanding mortgages.

They will also be allowed interest rates as low as 70 percent of the 6.55-percent benchmark mortgage rate, instead of paying a 10-percent premium on top of the benchmark rate as required previously.

Within one month after the mortgage easing measures, 13 out of the 16 listed banks offered better terms for mortgages, and 11 of them, including Bank of China, provided 5- to 10-percent discounts on mortgage interest rates to first-time homebuyers, according to Rong360.com, a financial information provider.

Among the 23 cities monitored, Rong360 found that 18 had seen declines in average mortgage interest rates for first-time home buyers. Nanjing, Xiamen, Foshan, Chongqing and Shenzhen saw the biggest declines.

Although the easing policies have partially alleviated the downside pressure on property sales and lowered the cost of mortgages for borrowers, in the long run, the pressure for the housing sector will remain given the extra inventory.

“China still faces a heavy pile-up of inventory and the recent sales increase will not alter the current situation,” said Zhang Hongwei, chief analyst of Tospur Real Estate Consulting.

The housing inventory in 35 Chinese cities hit a 5-year high for a total of 280.13 million square meters by the end of September, up 23.8 percent year on year, according to data released by property consultancy E-House China.

Statistics showed that the housing inventory in 31 out of 35 cities posted a year-on-year increase during the period, with Nanchang, Wenzhou and Jiujiang witnessing the sharpest increases of 99.3 percent, 60.3 percent and 60.1 percent year on year, respectively.

In addition, Moody’s predicted that residential home prices in China will remain under pressure over the next few months because developers will continue to offer price incentives on new projects for sale in 4Q 2014.

In September 2014, the number of cities that recorded year-over-year price declines jumped significantly to 58, up from 19 in August and three in July. Out of 70 major cities, 69 reported month-on-month price declines in September 2014, up from 68 in August 2014, according to Moody’s.

“This round of adjustment for the property sector will last throughout the year and till early 2015,” Zhang added.

 

 

 

 

NEW POST | updated on November 1, 2014

>>  Mortgage loan discount for home buyers “almost impossible”

By Shi Hao, Li Yanxia and Wang Zhi

One month ago China relaxed its rules on mortgage loans for home buyers, but experts say it is “almost impossible” for them to fully enjoy the interest rate discount.

The People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission jointly announced on Oct. 1 that people buying a second home will be allowed interest rates as low as 70 percent of the 6.55-percent benchmark mortgage rate, instead of paying a 10-percent premium on top of the benchmark rate as required previously.

The mortgage loan easing was an effort to reinvigorate China’s sluggish property market, which is key to stabilizing the economy.

The country’s major lenders, including China Construction Bank (CCB), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) and China Merchants Bank (CMB), confirmed the implementation of the policy.

However, a manager of an ABC’s local branch in Jiangsu Province told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that “it is almost impossible to offer 30 percent off.”

“A great amount of bank deposits are taken from wealth management programs with high return promise. Big mortgage loan discounts mean losses to banks as the cost of taking a deposit is high,” said the manager.

Su Xin, a loan manager of a CMB’s local branch in Shandong Province, said the bank offers 5 percent off to VIP clients and the benchmark rate to others.

Xinhua surveyed several banks and found that 10 percent off is the best offer available and with no 30 percent discounts available.

Although the implementation is lower than expected, many banks have sped up loan approval process to help home buyers.

 

 

 

 

Coal official hides 200 mln yuan cash at home: prosecutor

 

 

Wei Pengyuan.   Photo – Internet

 

 

Prosecutor:

Coal official hides

200 mln yuan cash at home

 

By Hu Longjiang

 

Prosecuting authorities seized more than 200 million yuan (32 million U.S. dollars) in cash from the house of an energy official, a prosecutor revealed on Friday of October 31 at a press conference.

The money, the largest amount seized since the founding of new China in 1949, was found at the home of Wei Pengyuan, vice director of the National Energy Administration’s coal department, according to Xu Jinhui, anti-bribery chief of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

Wei was put under investigation in May for allegedly accepting bribes.

The administration was under the management of the graft-tainted National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning body, which saw 11 officials punished in the first nine months of this year, according to Xu.

Former deputy chief of the NDRC, Liu Tienan, was expelled from the Communist Party of China and questioned over alleged graft practices in August last year. This was followed by the fall of a number of high-ranking corrupt officials in the country’s sweeping anti-graft campaign.

Six of the eleven officials were implicated in cases involving over ten million yuan each, and several leaders of the NDRC’s Price Department, including its current head and deputy head, were found to be involved in corruption, said Xu.

He said an important reason for corruption is that these officials have too much power.

“Taking the money and doing what they are paid to do has been an unspoken rule. Everyone knows it and nobody will break the tacit agreement,” Xu said.

China prosecuted 21,652 officials accused of bribery in the first nine months, with 13,414 of those cases resulting in convictions, according to Xu.

The courts have handed down judgements to 13,437 among those prosecuted, and only 23 were found to be innocent, the anti-bribery head said.

He added that procuratorates across the country had grilled 35,633 officials from January to September, including 319 at the mayoral level or higher.

In the first nine months, prosecuting authorities also captured 502 bribery suspects who had fled abroad, according to Xu.

 

 

 

 

Death sentences upheld in Kunming terrorist attack case

 

 

Defendants are on trial at the Higher People’s Court of Yunnan Province in Kunming,

capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on October 31, 2014.   Photo by Liu Xuebin

 

 

Death sentences upheld

in Kunming terrorist attack case

 

By Guo Likun, Luo Sha and Wang Yan

A Chinese court on Friday of October 31 upheld the death sentences of three men implicated in a terrorist attack that killed 31 people at a railway station in Kunming, the capital city of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, earlier this year.

Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad were sentenced to death on Sept. 12 for leading a terrorist organization and intentional homicide.

Investigators found that the three men had been training recruits for terrorist activities, including the attack at Kunming railway station, since December 2013.

All three men were arrested for allegedly planning to illegally cross the Chinese border on Feb. 27, just days ahead of the attack.

After failing to establish contact with Iskandar, five members of the group carried out their attack as originally planned on March 1.

Four were shot dead at the scene by the police while Patigul Tohti, weakened by a bullet wound, was captured. Thirty-one people died and 141 sustained injuries.

Patigul was sentenced to life for participating in the attack as well as intentional homicide during the first trial. The court ruled that although her criminal acts were extreme, as she was pregnant at the time of the arrest, she would be handed a life sentence.

The Yunnan Higher People’s Court rejected Muhammad’s appeal on Friday and upheld the penalty meted out by the Kunming Municipal Intermediate People’s Court last month.

The higher court affirmed the facts and evidence of the first trial and declared the judgment and sentencing appropriate.

The higher court ruled that all three suspects were guilty of organizing, leading and plotting violent, terrorist attacks and they should take responsibility for all the crimes committed and organized by their terrorist cell.

According to the original verdict, Iskandar and Muhammad recruited people to terror cells, while Tohtunyaz was a financier of terrorist activities.

Muhammad tried to appeal to the court that he had not acted alone, meaning his crime did not constitute intentional homicide. The court ruled that his appeal did not stand because it was not in line with the facts and legal provisions.

More than 300 people attended Friday’s trial, including lawmakers, political advisors and journalists. The court also supplied translators so the defendants could communicate in their native tongue during the trial.

 

 

 

 

What’s in a name? Britons have more options when getting married

 

 

What’s in a name?

Britons have more options

when getting married

 

By Larry Neild

 

“With this ring, I thee wed …” and the bride will usually adopt her husband’s surname in their marriage.

But in the new century, it will open up a whole new world of marriage for the big naming question when they utter those immortal words “I do.”

British academics recently launched the country’s biggest ever study into the impact of same-sex marriage on long-standing wedding traditions.

They want to know whether Britain’s recent changes to its marriage law will lead to a new set of conventions when it comes to exchanging vows and changing names.

More than 1,000 men and women from across the country have responded to a soul-searching survey by the Discourses of Marriage Research Group, made up of academics from universities in Nottingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Hull.

They asked people, both gay and straight, to fill out a survey to help reveal the answers to the big naming question.

“There is very little research in this area, so we are hoping to find out, from a large sample of people, what they and their friends are doing with their names and what influences those decisions,” said Georgina Turner, a member of the research group.

The survey closed earlier this week, and now researchers will spend months analyzing the results to find answers to the big naming question. The team aims to deliver a clearer picture of marriage and naming in the 21st century.

Marriage remains a popular choice for many and is now a new option for those in same-sex relationships. With ceremonies becoming more and more personalized and varied, researchers are interested in finding out whether the same creativity is being applied to naming choices.

The team also wants to learn more about how the introduction of children can change attitudes, and also whether some long-term partners change their names but skip a marriage ceremony altogether.

“It was really important for us to hear from all kinds of different people so we can paint an accurate picture of naming choices in the UK, and have a look at how they might be changing — or not,” said Turner, a lecturer at the University of Liverpool.

“We’re delighted with the positive response and can see that the question of surname choices is of concern to lots of people — whether gay or straight, old or young, unmarried or married, female or male. … We can’t wait to delve deep into the data,” she added.

Lucy Jones from Nottingham University, another member of the research group, said that by far the majority of British women getting married take on the names of their husband as soon as they say “I do.”

“This goes back to the days when women were regarded as property. The father traditionally ‘gave away’ his daughter and she became the property of her husband, and took on his name,” Jones said.

She added that the results of the survey showed “a whole mix of decisions.”

“Some couples stick with tradition; some will decide on double-barrel names using both surnames; a number will create an entirely new surname on marriage, perhaps a mix of their names, or even a name reflecting where they first met,” Jones said.

“The traditions in conventional marriage go back a long way, but what we want to see is how the introduction of same-sex marriage, where there are no naming conventions, will impact on the whole convention of marriage names,” she noted.

 

 

 

 

China province orders 30 pct of vehicles off roads for APEC

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS

>>  To mark first-ever World Cities Day, UN stresses need for sustainable urban planning

By Gu Zhenqiu

The United Nations said here on Friday of October31 that the world’s cities need to transition into better planned and better managed environments or risk exacerbating negative trends, as urban areas across the globe inevitably expand, growing both in size and in population.

Marking the inaugural edition of World Cities Day, a global event aimed at promoting sustainable urban development in cities and towns around the world, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that humanity’s future to be an urban one as the world’s population will increasingly become city-dwelling.

“We must get urbanization right, which means reducing greenhouse emissions, strengthening resilience, ensuring basic services such as water and sanitation and designing safe public streets and spaces for all to share,” the secretary-general stated in his message on the Day.

“Livable cities are crucial not only for city-dwellers but also for providing solutions to some of the key aspects of sustainable development,” he added.

The idea of World Cities Day was proposed by the Shanghai Declaration issued at the Shanghai World Expo on 2010, to advocate the idea of better city, better life. The Day will be celebrated annually on Oct. 31.

The inaugural host city for the worldwide commemoration will be Shanghai, China, with celebrations at Expo Park, where an expected 300 participants will attend the event.

The UN Economic and Social Council has asked all UN member states, relevant international organizations, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to celebrate the World Cities Day, thereby focusing on the challenges posed by urbanization.

The theme of this year’s World Cities Day is “Leading Urban Transformations.” It seeks to address the flood of challenges that will face urban spaces as their populations spike in the coming decades, placing a notable focus on “empowering people to contribute to creative solutions that can improve our shared urban future” and promoting “new ideas to bring about the city we need and the future we want.”

According to UN-Habitat, the UN agency focused on the creation of socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all, more than two-thirds of the world population — an estimated 5 billion people — will be living in cities by 2030, placing increasing amounts of pressure on housing, services, resources and the environment.

In addition, more than 60 percent of the urban populations will be under the age of 18, making greater demands on education, health facilities and work opportunities.

Meanwhile, at UN Headquarters in New York, a special event, ” people-centred Urbanization: Managing Social Inclusion in Today’s Cities”, co-organized by the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of China and Italy, UN-Habitat and the UN Alliance of Civilizations, will take place in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber.

Also on Friday, the president of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, called for an inclusive and sustainable approach for the urban development that considers the needs of marginalized groups.

Kutesa said that marginalized groups, like migrants, slum dwellers and youth, must be engaged and empowered to ensure that their needs are addressed.

“Urbanization can be a driving force for social and cultural transformation by allowing peoples with diverse backgrounds, experience and knowledge to coexist and interact,” he said.

He also mentioned that access to adequate health and education systems, decent jobs, basic infrastructure, and leisure activities will ensure urban settlements and the people living within them reach their full potential.

In his message to mark the Day, Joan Clos, the executive director of UN-Habitat, affirmed that cities can indeed create ” positive transformations if well-planned and well-managed,” noting that a well-planned city making use of optimal density can provide services to its citizens in a more efficient and affordable manner than sprawling urban areas while a city with mixed land use and a robust public transport system reduces its reliance on cars and cuts travel times and greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time, Clos said that a well-designed city can improve its employment rate by as much as 15 percent, providing more economic opportunities for its working citizens than a badly designed one, with companies and investors taking advantage of economies of scale and proximity.

The alternative, he warned, would be to allow the world’s cities to recklessly expand in an unplanned manner with “mono- functional space of low density and long distances, poorly connected, socially divided and economically inefficient.”

“Urban transformation is inevitable: it will continue, for better or worse. If not critically re-examined, urbanization will continue to propagate negative trends, including: increased segregation, inequality, and environmental degradation,” Clos said.

“World Cities Day has been created to remind us about the critical role that urbanization plays in our everyday lives and to celebrate the positive impact that well-managed urbanization can have on economic, social and environmental development,” he added.

 

 

 

 

MILAN

>>  Milan sets example of urban transformation on World Cities Day

By Marzia de Giuli

In a world where development has often to struggle with sustainability, Italy’s business city of Milan has set a good example of urban transformation by dominating both economy and quality-of-living national rankings.

During the past few years, Milan has worked hard to gain international fame not only as the capital of one of the most industrialized regions of Italy, Lombardy, but also as the “smart city” par excellence in the country.

“We already had the first results,” Cristina Tajani, Milan councilor for labor policy, economic development, universities and research, told Xinhua on Friday — when the first-ever World Cities Day was celebrated worldwide. It will fall on Oct. 31 every year.

The idea of the World Cities Day was proposed by China at the 2010 Shanghai world exposition to promote sustainable urban development globally, with support from UN-Habitat and the International Exhibitions Bureau. The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the plan last year.

Milan was on the podium of the 2014 rankings for smart cities carried out by ICity-LAB, an Italian ranking program which collects more than 70 indicators describing the national urban system with a six-dimensional image made out of economy, living, environment, people, mobility and governance.

“After placing fifth in 2012, Milan this year has climbed the chart,” Tajani highlighted. The secret for such a “leading urban transformation,” which by the way was the theme of the first World Cities Day, lies in the collaboration between the private and public sectors,” she said.

A recently launched project, Milan Smart City, has the task of coordinating all players committed to make Milan smarter and to assess its participation in European tenders of the Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation, promoting dialogue and exchanges.

In fact, Milan since 2011 has launched 70 “smart projects” worth a total of 200 million euros (250 million U.S. dollars) aimed at enhancing technological and social innovation, sustainable mobility and energy conservation, Tajani noted.

As a result, at present the Italian northern city counts 64 newly-developed apps, over 6,000 km of optical fiber, more than 500 Wi-Fi hot spots, 3,500 shared bicycles and over 120,000 subscribers to car sharing service.

Last but not least, separate waste collection has exceeded 50 percent of all household waste from 36.7 percent in 2012, well above the national average of around 40 percent, also thanks to door to door organic waste collection which is currently operating in 100 percent of Milan’s districts.

The spread of “sharing economy,” encouraged by online networks and recommendation systems that help establish trust between thousands of strangers, has played a key role in boosting good practices.

Though pollution remains a weak point, local institutions over the past few years have managed to prove that even one of the most car-dependent cities in Europe can change, Pierfrancesco Maran, Councilor for Mobility, Environment, Public Water and Energy, highlighted.

Milan was the winner of the 2014 Transport Achievement Award, promoted annually by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, thanks to Area C, a road pricing measure launched in 2012 that limits vehicle access to the city center through a system of electronic gates. The entrance ticket costs 5 euros (6.2 U.S. dollars).

After the introduction of Area C, Maran told Xinhua, traffic congestion fell by 28 percent, while public transport subscriptions were up 25 percent. But more goals have still to be reached, he added.

Milan’s world exposition, which is expected to attract over 20 million visitors between May 1 and Oct. 31 next year, as well as the plan to transform from 2015 into a “metropolitan city” will encourage further improvement, with the goal to compete at European and world level, he stressed.

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS

>>  China’s urbanization brings world opportunities: envoy

By Shi Xiaomeng

China’s urbanization will create important opportunities for the world as it both generates internal demand and expands the market, Beijing’s top envoy said here on Friday of October 31.

Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks at a UN high-level event themed “People-Centered Urbanization” and dedicated to the first-ever “World Cities Day.”

Noting that China’s urbanization rate has already reached 53.7 percent, a level close to the world average, Liu said China will develop a new type of urbanization that is people-centered, sustainable and highly efficient.

“This entails enormous trade and investment opportunities for all countries and boosts economic development of the world,” he said.

Liu also highlighted that China’s urbanization leads to wider and deeper cooperation with other countries on sustainable development of cities.

“Enhancing international cooperation is an important way to achieve sustainable development of cities, particularly in developing countries,” he said. “Common development of all benefits all.”

The idea of World Cities Day was proposed in the Shanghai Declaration issued at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010 to advocate the idea of better city, better life. It is the first international day designated by the UN at China’s initiative.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese premier calls for sustainable urban development

By Hao Yalin, Xu Xiaoqing and Yang Jinzhi

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday of October 31 called for more international cooperation on sustainable urban development.

China’s urbanization is putting people first. This requires harmonious and inclusive urban development, Li said in a congratulatory letter to the World City Day activities in Shanghai.

He said the city is an important platform for human civilization progress and social and economic development.

China is working to realize a rational distribution of cities and towns and coordinated development of big, medium, and small cities and small towns. Only innovate industries can bring about high quality, sustainable urban development, said Li

The premier also called on the international community to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on green cities, smart cities, urban governance, and urban culture.

The idea of World City Day was proposed by the Shanghai Declaration issued at the Shanghai World Expo on 2010, to advocate the idea of better city, better life.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China reviews anti-dumping duties on imported adipic acid

By Chen Siwu

China will begin a review of its anti-dumping measures on adipic acid from the United States, the European Union and the Republic of Korea starting Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday of October 31.

The sunset review of the five-year measures, first imposed on Nov. 1, 2009, will last for 12 months ending on Nov. 1 next year, according to the ministry.

The review comes after four domestic companies said dumping or damages to the domestic industry would reoccur if anti-dumping measures were terminated.

During the review period, adipic acid imports from ROK will still be subject to anti-dumping duties ranging from 5.9 percent to 16.7 percent.

Meanwhile, imports from the U.S. and the EU will be subject to levies between 5 percent to 35.4 percent.

Adipic acid is primarily used in the production of nylon 6-6, polyurethane foam and polyester resins.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Australia, China eye concluding FTA talks

By Wang Huihui

Australia and China will discuss concluding the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) next week in Beijing, Australian Ambassador to China Frances J. Adamson said on Friday of October 31.

Adamson told reporters in her embassy that Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb would “seek discussions with his Chinese counterpart to conclude outstanding issues in the FTA negotiation” during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting.

Robb and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will travel to Beijing for the APEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 7 to 8, ahead of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s presence at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Nov. 10 and 11, the ambassador said.

Australia is a strong supporter of trade liberalization and finished FTA talks with the Republic of Korea and Japan earlier this year, she said, expecting a FTA deal with China to be signed this year.

The Australia-China FTA, if successfully concluded, will mean substantial gains through liberalizing market access, she said.

Initiated in 2005, FTA talks between Australia and China have been through 21 rounds so far. If a deal is signed, it would give Australian agricultural produce easier access to the enormous Chinese market.

China is Australia’s largest trade partner and biggest export market, while Australia is Chins’ largest overseas investment destination.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade reached 136 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, up 11.5 percent from 2012.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese VP mourns death of Zambian president

By Wang Huihui

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao mourned the death of Zambian President Michael Sata on Friday of October 31 at the Zambian Embassy in Beijing.

Li said President Sata was a famous leader and statesman and made contributions to China-Zambia relations. Li expressed deep condolences for his death and extended sympathies to his family.

Zambia’s Ambassador to China Gertrude Mwape thanked Li for traveling to the embassy.

The Zambian government said Wednesday that Sata died of an undisclosed illness in London after medical check-up. His health has been a source of concern since June when he appeared on state television looking pale.

 

 

 

 

ALGIERS

>>  “Beijing Road” in Algiers tells China-Algeria stories

By Xiong Ping

There is a street, called “Beijing Road” in downtown Algiers, which zigzags uphill about one kilometer, linking the presidential office at one end, and the city’s bustling commercial district at the other.

Many old locals are familiar with the “China story” on the road, and there are always visitors coming from distant China to pay a visit to this road and have a photo with it.

Walking in a sunny October day along the road to trace its history and Chinese element, you will meet a lot of local residents greeting you naturally with Chinese “ni hao”, equivalent to “hello” in English.

In a coffee bar on the road, an old man in his 70s, who grew up there, was very delighted when he saw Chinese visitors.

He put his index fingers together, a gesture meaning that Algeria and China are “good brothers.”

Expressing thanks for China’s support in Algeria’s efforts to fight for independence, the Algerian government named the street as “Beijing Road” in December 1963 when late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited the country, the old man said.

He recalled that hundreds of thousands of people, at that time, stood along both sides of the road to welcome Zhou and cheering people crowded the road-naming ceremony.

In 1963, the first medical aid team that China sent overseas arrived in Algeria. Algeria was one of the two co-sponsors (the other is Albania) for the People’s Republic of China to resume its legitimate seat in the United Nations In 1971.

Near the old man’s coffee bar, a popular Chinese children’s song was heard, coming from a toy rocking car in front of a children’s dress shop.

The owner of the shop told Xinhua that the toy car was bought from China and is used to attract customers.

He pointed to a nearby mobile phone shop run by his brother, who imports mobile phones from China.

The dress shop owner said that he and his brother travel to China together several times each year, and cities in China, like Shanghai and Guangzhou, are big and beautiful.

His father also drives a small Chinese-manufactured truck and runs a transport business, he added.

On the “Beijing Road,” Chinese traces could be seen everywhere. Garments in shops, shoes, hats, suitcases and bags, are all made in China.

Currently, China has been Algeria’s largest source of import and bilateral trade volume has increased by 10 times over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Algeria has become one of the top markets for China’s overseas construction contractors. Hundreds of Chinese companies are undertaking various construction projects in the country, including highways, mosques, international convention and exhibition centers, hospitals as well as hundreds of thousands of residential housing units.

China has become the world’s second largest economy and China’s development will also benefit Algeria and the Algerian people. The mutual benefit and win-win cooperation in the new era will surely inject new impetus and contents into the traditional bilateral friendship.

 

 

 

 

GABORONE

>>  Chinese embassy donates pavement for disabled students in Botswana

By Lü Tianran

Chinese embassy to Botswana on Friday officially handed over a pavement project for students disabilities to a local school.

The pavement project aims to eliminate obstacles for the wheelchiar-bound students and enables them to move around the school more easier.

Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang said during the handing-over ceremony the embassy decided to sponsor the pavement project to the school after it witnessed wheelchair-bound students having difficulties to move around the school especially on rainy days.

The pavement has been built in front of a special unit building of Solomon Dihutso Primary School, Mogoditshane area, western Gaborone. The public school has around 900 students, among them 72 disabilities.

The embassy started its relationship with the school in 2013 and donated books, schoolbags and sportswears to it. School students and staff were also invited to the embassy’s open day last November.

“I am looking forward to making joint efforts with you to further strengthen our relationship and bring more benefits to the students,” said the embassador.

Principal education officer of Mogoditshane Elias Lebana and school officers expressed their gratitude to the embassy.

The Chinese government and Chinese community in Botswana have been playing an active and helpful role in the filed of education in the country. Each year, China provides more than 80 government scholarships for Botswana student to pursue higher education in China. China has built and donated two primary schools in Maun, northern area and Serowe, east of the country. The Chinese embassy has adopted two schools here responding the call of the Botswana government.

 

 

 

 

ADDIS ABABA

>>  Chinese embassy provides third-round donation for Ethiopia school

By Liang Shanggang

Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Xie Xiaoyan has reaffirmed China’s commitment to further strengthening cooperation with Ethiopia in human resource development.

The Ambassador made the remarks on Friday of October 31 during the third round donation ceremony of reference books and other equipment by Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia to Tinbite Ermiyas School in the capital Addis Ababa of the East African country.

Xie noted that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the cooperation with Ethiopia in human resource development.

He also reaffirmed China’s commitment to continuing its efforts to further boost the bilateral cooperation with Ethiopia in education and other sectors.

The Chinese Embassy in Addis Ababa has forged close partnership with Tinbite Ermiyas School whereby the Embassy provides teaching material and other equipment in donation with a view of ensuring smooth teaching and learning process and thereby achieving quality education at the school.

In its latest move Friday, the embassy has donated reference books, desktops, laptops, projectors, and generator among others worth a million Eth. Birr, or 50,000 U.S. dollars.

Officials from the school and the local administration revealed that the embassy’s support to and partnership with the school has enabled the school to make progress and raise its standard.

The ambassador reassured that the partnership between his Embassy and the school would continue in strengthened manner to see more progress at the school.

He reiterated that the Chinese Government and its people would continue the support to Ethiopians in the education sector.

“I myself, the Embassy, the Chinese people and Government will continue within our capacity to assist our brothers and sisters in education. This is an on-going process; and we will continue as partners in the future,” noted Xie.

China last year announced it would double the scholarship to Ethiopian students and in September this year over 40 students went to China’s universities under the scholarship program by the Chinese Government, recalled the Ambassador.

He also expressed hope that the students at Tinbite Ermiyas School would have the opportunity in the future to have China’s scholarship and that they would contribute to their country’s development and also to the cooperation and friendship between Ethiopia and China.

Speaking on the occasion, Miskir Getachew, Principal of Tinbite Ermiyas School, said the school and the Embassy have been working in close collaboration towards quality of education.

He has commended the people and Government of China for the support to the school.

The support from the Chinese Embassy enables the school to achieve its organizational goals by alleviating the problem in shortage of school material, said the Principal.

Representing the people and Government of China, the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia is one of the partners the school has been working with in its efforts to ensure quality of education, according to the Principal.

Lauding the Chinese Embassy’s support to the school, Tarekegn Workneh, Head of Capacity Building Bureau of Kolfe Keranyo sub- city, noted that Ethiopia and China are enjoying cooperation in different sectors including, in economic and infrastructure development among others. Tewodros Hailemariam, CEO of Woreda 9 Administration, has lauded the role by the partnership forged between Tinbite Ermiyas School and the Chinese Embassy towards education quality.

With songs by the students, the handing over ceremony of Friday’ s donation took place in the presence of members of the Embassy staff, local officials, and members of the school community.

 

 

 

 

ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

>>  Two Dutchmen applauded in Rotterdam after three-month trip on Silk Road using only Chinese brands

By Liu Fang

Dutch travelers Rogier Bikker and Maren Striker, who arrived on Friday noon of October 31 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands after a three-month 20,000km trip along the old Silk Road using only Chinese brands, were applauded by their hometown fellows and principle sponsors for their epic drive trekking.

“It is often said that people in Rotterdam are born with their sleeves rolled up, which means ‘we do it’. I see similarities with the attitude of these two young men and their Chinese sponsors. Maren and Rogier started with a dream. With passion, they built their dream and they did it,” said Rotterdam’s Vice Mayor Mr. Maarten Struijvenberg at the welcome home party.

The journey coincides with the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the sisterhood between Rotterdam and Shanghai, where the two young men kicked off their adventure on July 25th.

During their drive across 11 countries along the old Silk Road (China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany and Holland), they used only Chinese design products, such as BYD car, Huawei smart phones, Lenovo laptops as well as tents, sunglasses and even underwear.

For Maren and Rogier, both in good health and high spirit, the success of their initiative “Brand New China” is a “proof of the pudding in the eating”. With images and videos of their trip shared in website, weibo and facebook everyday, they shared itinerary of their journey, test results of Chinese products as well as feelings when meeting other cultures and people all along the trip.

“During the past 5 years living in China, we’ve seen China change from the factory of the world to a place with driven people designing innovative products at fascinating companies…During our 3 months journey through 11 countries we meet remarkable Chinese people in each of the countries we pass through, discovering a ‘brand new China’ along the way,” announced the two Dutch guys on their website homepage.

For Isbrand Ho, Europe’s Managing Director of BYD Auto, who provided the car and sponsored all the spending of the project, Maren and Rojier have demonstrated through their envious trip the strength of “Made in China” and increasingly important “Design in China”.

“People start to realize that among the cars your’re driving, the phones you’re using, the clothes that you’re wearing, lots of are now designed in China. This will continue to impact on all of us in coming years,” said Mr. Ho at the welcome ceremony.

For example, “BYD F5 Suri, the car that has taken Maren and Rojier through the 20,000 km journey, has experienced some cultural shocks, as well as some physical shocks, but it made it. I believe it is a strong statement of the quality, the durability and the reliability of the BYD cars,” added the European manager of one of China’s largest companies to have successfully expanded globally.

“During the whole trip, the car performed extremely well. We never had a single technical issue, not even when we mistreated the car by going off road. It seems like nothing matters to the car, it just keeps on going. We are really impressed by the quality. It is like with all the equipment we brought from China: Every piece of kit delivered the quality we needed,” confirmed Rogier Bikker.

 

 

 

 

OTTAWA

>>  Canadian PM announces his third official visit to China

By Li Baodong

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Friday of October 31 that he will travel to China from Nov. 5 to 10 for his third official visit and attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing.

With Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui seated at his right side at the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa, Harper said that he was looking forward to meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to build on our economic relationship and also our friendship. I should just acknowledge that I’m very pleased the Chinese have been very flexible in terms of scheduling us in order to accommodate my attendance at Remembrance Day at the National War Memorial. That’s something I truly appreciate,” he said.

The Chinese ambassador expressed “our deepest condolences” to Canada over the terror attacks last week, which saw two soldiers killed in deadly attacks in three days and the national parliament stormed by a gunman.

Harper, during the visit, will focus on “increasing trade and prosperity, strengthening people-to-people ties and deepening bilateral relations to best represent Canadian values and interests,” according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The upcoming visit, his third since taking office in February 2006, will take Harper to Hangzhou and Beijing, it said. The Canadian prime minister made official visits to China in December 2009 and in February 2012.

In Hangzhou, Harper will meet with Chinese government officials and a Canadian business delegation comprised of representatives from a broad range of sectors to discuss the tremendous opportunities China presents Canadian companies to grow their businesses, the release said.

“He will highlight how Chinese market-oriented reforms are creating growing opportunities for Canadian and other foreign businesses, and will promote actions taken by the Canadian government to support trade and commerce, which spurs job growth in the domestic market,” it said.

In Beijing, the Canadian prime minister will meet with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang to discuss areas of mutual interest, including science and technology and clean energy, the press release said.

On Nov. 10, Harper will “participate in some elements of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing before returning to Canada for Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa on November 11,” the release said.

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting is slated for Nov. 10-11. The 21 APEC members, including the United States, China, Japan and Russia, account for over half of the world’s economic output, 40 percent of the world’s population, and 46 percent of total global trade.

 

 

 

 

PYONGYANG

>>  No Chinese citizens visiting DPRK quarantined: embassy

By Lu Rui

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has in recent days taken tough measures to keep the Ebola virus out of the country, but so far no Chinese citizens traveling to the country have been quarantined, the Chinese Embassy in the DPRK said on Friday of October 31.

A state emergency anti-epidemic committee has been put in place recently to help strengthen inspection and quarantine at border crossings.

On Wednesday, a note has been issued by the emergency committee to all diplomatic missions and international organizations present in the country saying that all foreigners entering the DPRK will be quarantined for 21 days and will receive medical observation regardless of where they come from and which places they have been to.

According to the note, foreigners from Ebola-hit regions will be quarantined at Chongchongang Hotel in Anju City of South Pyongan and Ap Rok Gang Hotel in the city of Sinuiju of North Pyongan.

Foreigners from non-affected areas will be quarantined at hotels designated by their inviting party.

Diplomatic envoys and personnel with international institutions are to be quarantined at their own residences.

The Chinese embassy has issued a consular notice to all Chinese nationals and organizations in the DPRK informing them of the circumstances.

No Chinese citizens have been quarantined and international flights and trains going between China and the DPRK are not affected, said the embassy.

However, at airports and other border ports, travelers are asked to have their body temperatures taken and fill in a registration form upon their arrival in the country.

Also, doctors are sent to hotels that accommodate foreign visitors on a daily basis to track their temperatures.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Renminbi payments surge between offshore centers: SWIFT

By Lin Jianyang

International payments using China’s currency, the Renminbi (RMB), between offshore centers (excluding Hong Kong) have surged by 837 percent in value over the past two years, Belgium-based global payment services company SWIFT said late Thursday of October 30 in a statement.

As a result, the share of RMB transactions in international payments between offshore trading centers increased to 3.25 percent in September, SWIFT’s latest RMB Tracker showed.

Hong Kong started offshore RMB trading in February 2004. It pioneered the offshore yuan business and has remained the biggest offshore RMB center.

In the past two years, European and Asian financial centers such as Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Luxembourg began offshore RMB business in order to capitalize on the rapid growth of offshore yuan-denominated trade and financial products.

Based on SWIFT’s RMB Tracker, clearing centers such as Singapore, London and a newly-appointed German center in Frankfurt are driving true offshore use of the RMB.

SWIFT defines “true offshore international RMB payments” as transactions between RMB centers such as Singapore, London, Luxembourg and Frankfurt outside of China’s mainland and Hong Kong.

Countries that are not normally among the top ten RMB trading centers are also fuelling the offshore trend. Belgium currently sits fourth for true offshore RMB international payments, SWIFT said.

Over the last nine months, SWIFT has noted significant growth in all RMB offshore centers, with Singapore holding a leading position at 574-percent growth, followed by Luxembourg (517 percent) and the United Kingdom (236 percent).

“Payments, FX and trade finance are the markers to watch for growth in RMB internationalization,” said Alex Medana, Director of Asia Pacific Securities Markets at SWIFT.

The RMB is primarily used as a trade settlement currency, but it is worth noting that the RMB is steadily making progress as an investment currency, he said.

In the first nine months of 2014, 28 percent of securities settlement confirmations in RMB were done outside the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, compared to 16 percent during the same period two years ago, Medana said.

Overall, the RMB strengthened its position as the seventh-ranked global payments currency and accounted for 1.72 percent of global payments, an all-time record share, SWIFT data showed.

In September 2014, the value of RMB global payments increased by 13.2 percent, well above the average 8.1 percent growth for all currencies, it said.

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  Hong Kong stocks close up 1.25 pct

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong stocks closed up 296. 02 points, or 1.25 percent, to 23,998.06 points on Friday of October 31.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 23,850.70 and 24, 046.40. Turnover totaled 82.94 billion HK dollars (about 10.69 billion U.S. dollars).

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 126.92 points, or 1. 19 percent, to close at 10,755.80.

All of the four sub-indices gained ground. The Commerce & Industry sub-index rose the most at 1.55 percent, followed by Properties at 1.19 percent, the Finance at 1.06 percent, the Utilities at 0.66 percent.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, rose 0.51 percent to close at 78.85 HK dollars. Its local unit Hang Seng Bank gained 0.38 percent to 131. 4 HK dollars.

Bank of East Asia, another Hong Kong’s major bank, gained 1.25 percent to 32.4 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEx surged 2.02 percent to 171.9 HK dollars.

Local developers closed higher. Hang Lung Properties soared 2. 98 percent to 24.2 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, added 0.96 percent to 52.35 HK dollars.

Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, rose 0.66 percent to 137.6 HK dollars. Sun Hung Kai Properties increased 0.35 percent to 115.6 HK dollars.

Mainland-based financial stocks went up. Bank of China gained 0. 82 percent to 3.71 HK dollars. Bank of Communications surged 2.11 percent to 5.81 HK dollars. China Construction Bank gained 1.05 percent to 5.78 HK dollars. ICBC rose 1.18 percent to 5.13 HK dollars.

As for energy stocks, PetroChina rose 0.62 percent to 9.71 HK dollars. CNOOC gained 1.5 percent to 12.18 HK dollars. Sinopec moved up 0.15 percent to 6.72 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7. 76 HK dollars)

 

 

 

 

HONG KONG

>>  HK Customs seizes cocaine valued at 20 mln HKD

By Zhang Yashi

Hong Kong Customs on Friday of October 31 said that about 20 kilograms of suspected liquid cocaine with an estimated market value of about 20.54 million HK dollars (about 2. 65 million U.S. dollars) were seized at Hong Kong International Airport.

Hong Kong Customs found the suspected drugs in a check-in luggage of a female passenger from Lima, Peru via Amsterdam, the Netherlands on Thursday. The woman, aged 31, was arrested and will be charged with one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, drug trafficking is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of 5 million HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar = 7.76 HK dollars)

 

 

 

 

 

TAIPEI

>>  Star-studded art exhibition opens in Taipei

By Han Miao and Luo Xiaobing

Art Taipei 2014, one of Asia’s most important art fairs, kicked off Friday with more than 3,000 works of art on display, ranging from painting and sculpture to mixed media artwork.

The four-day fair, now in its 21st year, featured works of more than 500 artists from around the world. Among them established names such as Picasso, Miro, Dali, Yayoi Kusama, as well as Chinese-French painters Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun.

It is a way for young artists to show their work, with a “Young Art Discovery” session dedicated to aspiring youth in the contemporary art world.

A total of 145 galleries from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, the United States, Germany, Israel, France, and Singapore are taking part in the fair. Visitors can also attend lectures and movie sessions.

The fair attracted around 45,000 people last year, with total sales exceeding 1.1 billion New Taiwan dollars (36.2 million U.S. dollars), according to the organizers.

 

 

 

 

TAIPEI

>>  Taiwan GDP growth hits 2-year-high despite food scandals

By Han Miao

Taiwan’s economy reported its best quarter since 2013, despite concerns that food safety had dampened spending at restaurants, according to preliminary data released by the island’s statistics bureau on Friday of October 31.

Taiwan’s GDP grew 3.78 percent year-on-year in the July-September period of 2014, the fastest in seven quarters, beating the authority’s forecast of 3.62 percent.

Increasing electronic exports and tourist arrivals were the main drivers behind the growth of the island’s economy, while a plunge in sales at restaurants due to a tainted oil scandal in September eroded gains in private consumption, the statistic bureau said.

Taiwan’s catering industry expanded 2.55 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, with September registering a mere 0.81-percent growth, diving sharply from the 4.58 percent in the previous quarter.

Taiwanese consumers have been in the grip of dismay and fear as two major food safety scandals hit the island in less than a month.

In September, oil maker Chang Guann Co. was caught using kitchen waste and industrial grease in its lard, triggering public outrage and resulting in a wide-scale recall.

This month, Ting Hsin International Group, known for a number of brands including Master Kong instant noodles, was rocked by a food scare after two of its subsidiaries were found to have used animal feed in cooking oil.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese vice premier meets Rosneft CEO

By Tan Jingjing

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli met here on Friday of October 31 with Russian oil company Rosneft chief Igor Sechin to pave the way for a meeting between Chinese and Russian presidents during the APEC summit in Beijing next month.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will meeting on the sidelines of the APEC leaders’ meeting, Zhang said.

Zhang said his meeting with Sechin aims to implement the consensus reached by the leaders, and make preparations for their meeting.

Hailing fruitful bilateral energy cooperation, Zhang hoped both sides would fulfill their oil supply projects, and expand offshore crude oil trade.

He also urged the two countries to cooperate more on upstream oil exploration and engineering services, and push forward the construction of the joint-funded oil refinery in China’s northern city of Tianjin.

China and Russia should work on new cooperation projects to promote greater progress of their energy cooperation, Zhang added.

Sechin, in his turn, vowed joint efforts with China to promote new achievements from bilateral large-scale cooperation projects in oil field.

When Xi and Putin met in May this year, the two sides sealed a deal on constructing the East Route of the China-Russia gas pipeline.

In a 30-year period starting from 2018, Russia will export 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China through the pipeline every year.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese vice premier meets UN humanitarian chief

By Yang Yijun

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on Friday met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, who is also the UN emergency relief coordinator.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Top political advisor meets Taiwan delegation

By Guo Likun

 

Yu Zhengsheng (2nd from right), a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist

Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the

Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, meets with a business delegation from

the Taiwan’s Federation of Industries, in Beijing, on August 18, 2014.   Photo by Li Tao

 

Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng on Friday called for integrated economic development across the Taiwan Strait when meeting with an industry and commerce delegation from Taiwan.

“The Chinese mainland’s economic development is an important opportunity for Taiwan,” said Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Enhancing cross-Strait economic cooperation mechanisms and integrated economic development will help both sides cope with the challenges of globalization, he said.

Yu acknowledged efforts made by the delegation, comprised of members from the island’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Association of Industry and Commerce, and Association of Small & Medium Enterprises, in boosting cross-Strait economic cooperation.

He expressed his hope that Taiwan’s enterprises and people could participate more in cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation and contribute more to the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties.

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  China province orders 30 pct of vehicles off roads for APEC

By Zhu Feng and Li Baojie

Five cities in north China’s Hebei Province, which surround Beijing, will ban 30 percent of vehicles from roads to help ensure cleaner air for the upcoming APEC meeting in the Chinese capital.

The 10-day restriction that starts on Nov. 3 applies to the cities of Langfang, Baoding, Tangshan, Zhangjiakou and Chengde, which are all within 200 kilometers of Beijing, the Hebei provincial public security bureau said on Friday of October 31.

Meanwhile, high-emission vehicles are banned from driving on highways and city roads during the period.

Local traffic police will order trucks, tricycles, motorcycles, tractors and high-emission passenger cars coming from Hebei and other provinces planning to pass through Beijing to return or make a detour.

Beijing will also restrict cars based on an odd-and-even-number rule, allowing cars to drive on alternating days from Nov. 3 to 12.

Apart from vehicle controls, the Chinese government has also ordered temporary factory shutdowns in Beijing and neighboring regions during next month’s APEC meeting to ensure cleaner air.

Ensuring air quality for the meeting in November is the “priority of priorities” for the current air pollution control work, Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli said on Oct. 24.

Beijing has been plagued by four rounds of smog this month.

APEC, short for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, is a summit for leaders of members to discuss the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.

The 21 APEC members, including the United States, China, Japan and Russia, account for over half of the world’s economic output, 40 percent of the world’s population, and 46 percent of total global trade.

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held in Beijing from Nov. 10 to 11. During the APEC leaders’ week, China will host a series of meetings, including the final senior officials’ meeting from November 5 to 6, the 26th ministerial meeting from Nov. 7 to 8, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 10 to 11, as well as the APEC business and leaders’ spouses’ events.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s 13th National Winter Games logo, mascot, theme unveiled

By Su Bin and Wang Jingyu

A clearer picture of China’s 13th National Winter Games, to be held in Xinjiang in 2016, was presented as its logo, mascot and theme was unveiled on a press conference here on Friday of October 31.

Accrding to Li Guangming, head of Xinjiang Sports Administration, a total of 1,523 art works have been submitted over the past two years. Through several procedures, including web user poll and expert evaluation, the final decision has been made.

The 2016 edition of this quadrennial event takes “Winter elegance on Silk Road” as its logo. Using five “Olympic” colors, namely red, yellow, blue, green and black, on Chinese calligraphic word “winter”, the organizing committee wants the logo to display as many features as it can about Xinjiang. The number “13”, representing the 13th edition, is also implicit in the logo.

The mascot are two lovely “Snow Lotus Babies”, one in red and the other in blue and white. The snow lotus on their heads express a good wish for Xinjiang’s prosperity and people’s well being.

The theme of the Games is set on “Together in beautiful Xinjiang, sharing a splendid Winter Games”.

According to Li, venue construction is running smoothly, with snow venues already concluded, while the ice part to be due at the end of this November.

The 13th National Winter Games is scheduled from January 20-31, 2016.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China convicts over 13,000 officials for bribery

By Hu Longjiang and Luo Sha

China prosecuted 21,652 officials accused of bribery in the first nine months of the year, with 13,414 of those cases resulting in convictions, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) revealed on Friday of October 31.

Of those prosecuted, 13,437 had their judgements handed down, including 13,414 who were found guilty and 23 who were judged to be innocent, the SPP’s anti-bribery head Xu Jinhui said at the SPP’s press conference.

Xu said procuratorates across the country had grilled 35,633 officials from January to September, 319 were at a mayor level or higher.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China approves three more rail lines

By Chen Siwu

China’s top economic planning agency has approved plans to build three rail lines, at a cost of about 250 billion yuan (40 billion U.S. dollars).

The longest line, costing about 20 billion yuan, will carry coal more than 1,800 km from the city of Ordos in north China’s Inner Mongolia to Ji’an in the eastern province of Jiangxi, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. Construction will take about five years.

The two other projects are a 137 km passenger line linking Datong in north China’s Shanxi Province with Zhangjiakou in neighboring Hebei, and a 402 km linking between Xigaze and Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Policymakers have been accelerating investment in infrastructure to stabilize growth in recent months.

 

 

 

 

LHASA

>>  China approves new railway in Tibet

By Li Laifang, Qin Yazhou and Wang Jun

China has approved the feasibility report for the construction of a railway linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in Tibet Autonomous Region, local authorities said on Friday of October 31.

This railway will be the second built to link Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s R&D expenditures hit record high

By Guo Likun and Yu Xiaojie

China’s expenditures on scientific research and development (R&D) reached a record high in 2013 as the country pushed for an innovation-driven economy, according to official data released on Friday of October 31.

China’s R&D expenditures totaled 1.18 trillion yuan (193 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013, up 15 percent year-on-year, according to a joint report published by the National Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance.

Expenditures on elementary research, applied research, and experimental development accounted for 4.7 percent, 10.7 percent and 84.6 percent of the total.

Last year’s R&D expenditures were the highest ever recorded, both in total amount and by share of GDP, the report said.

R&D funds accounted for 2.08 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, a higher proportion than the 1.98 percent registered in 2012, figures from the report show.

Companies and enterprises invested the most on R&D, with 907.58 billion yuan recorded in 2013, up 15.7 percent year on year. Government-affiliated research institutes and universities spent 178.14 billion yuan and 85.67 billion yuan, up 15 percent and 9.8 percent from a year earlier, respectively.

Six provincial regions, including Jiangsu, Guangdong, Beijing, Shandong, Zhejiang and Shanghai, invested the most on scientific R&D last year.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China gets tough on livestock dumping

By Fu Shuangqi

The State Council, China’s cabinet, on Friday of October 31 decided to review punishments on the illegal disposal of diseased animals and carcasses.

Individuals and organizations are banned from dumping, trading and processing diseased animals and poultry or their carcasses without proper procedures. Agriculture and food safety authorities will pursue and punish offenders, along with police in cases that violate the Criminal Law.

The order also clarifies the responsibilities of local governments at different levels. County governments will dispose dead animals and birds found in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while township governments are in charge of those found in public places. They should both report such discoveries to their superior governments.

Many farms are small businesses without proper disposal facilities and they are inclined to dispose animal waste carelessly, said the State Council.

In March last year, 6,000 rotting pig carcasses were found floating in the Huangpu River, an important source of Shanghai’s tap water, causing widespread panic.

An investigation found that hog farms along the upper reach of the river had dumped the carcasses to save the cost of sending them to legal disposal facilities.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Coal official hides 200 mln yuan cash at home: procurator

By Hu Longjiang

Prosecuting authorities seized more than 200 million yuan (32 million U.S. dollars) in cash from the house of an energy official, a procurator revealed on Friday of October 31 at a press conference.

The money, the largest amount seized from an individual official since the founding of new China in 1949, was found at the home of Wei Pengyuan, vice director of the National Energy Administration’s coal department, according to Xu Jinhui, anti-bribery head of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

Wei was put under investigation in May for allegedly accepting bribes.

The administration was under the management of the graft-tainted National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning body, which has seen 11 officials punished in the first nine months of this year, according to Xu.

Former deputy chief of the NDRC, Liu Tienan, was expelled from the Communist Party of China and questioned over alleged graft practices in August last year. This was followed by the fall of a number of high-ranking corrupt officials in the country sweeping anti-graft campaign.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China cuts retail oil prices

By Zhu Shaobin, Zhao Chao and An Bei

China’s top economic planner announced cuts in the retail price of gasoline by 245 yuan per tonne (39.86 U.S. dollars) and that of diesel by 235 yuan on Friday of October 31.

The adjustment, effective on Saturday, means retail prices will drop by 0.18 yuan per liter for gas and 0.2 yuan per liter for diesel, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The cut is the seventh since July, as international crude prices continue to slide.

The latest price cut will bring retail fuel prices to below 7 yuan per liter (4.34 U.S dollars per gallon) in most regions. In Beijing, the maximum retail price per liter for 92# gas will fall to 6.92 yuan, while diesel price will drop to 6.84 yuan.

China has a pricing regime that adjusts domestic fuel prices when international crude prices change by more than 50 yuan per tonne for 10 working days.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China key stock index touches 20-month high

By Shi Hao

Led by the bullish performance in the finance sector, Chinese shares rose substantially on Friday with the Shanghai Composite Index hitting a 20-month high.

The Shanghai index, the most significant indicator of China’s equity market, closed up 1.22 percent at 2,420.18 points.

The Shenzhen Component Index also jumped 1.67 percent to close at 8,225.61.

The fresh highs were largely supported rises in banks, brokers and insurers, which enjoyed an aggregate increase of 3.11 percent.

Bank of Nanjing led with a 9.49-percent rise.

Coal miners, steel makers and cement producers also saw major gains.

Bucking the trend, the ChiNext Index, China’s Nasdaq-style board, lost 0.82 percent to end at 1,513.27.

Shares in electronics devices, aircraft production and textiles also tumbled substantially.

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Beijing baby killer executed

By Wang Ruoyao

A Beijing court announced that the convicted killer of a two-year-old girl was executed on Friday of October 31.

Han Lei’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme People’s Court, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said on its verified account on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Han, 40, who claimed to be intoxicated at the time, was arguing with the child’s mother over a parking space in Beijing’s Daxing District on July 23 last year when he grabbed the girl and threw her to the ground. He fled the scene but was arrested the next day.

The girl sustained severe injuries and died just days later.

The atrocity sparked nationwide outrage and prompted discussions about child protection.

The intermediate court found Han guilty of intentional homicide and handed down the death penalty in September. Han lodged an appeal, which was rejected by the Beijing Higher People’s Court in November.

Han had only been out of prison for nine months before the incident.

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  13 missing after China fishing boat capsizes

By Wang Junlu and Li Baojie

Thirteen fishermen remained missing after a fishing boat capsized off east China’s Zhejiang Province more than a day ago, local maritime authorities said on Friday of October 31.

The boat sank off the coast of Shengsi county of Zhoushan city, a cluster of islands, at midnight Wednesday after allegedly being hit by a large vessel while en route to a harbor, the city’s ocean and fishing bureau said in a press release.

Two of 15 crew members aboard the boat have been rescued and the rest are still missing.

A rescue and search operation, which also involves patrol boats from maritime authorities in Shanghai and nearby fishing boats, is under way.

 

 

 

 

NANCHANG

>>  3 schoolchildren stabbed in east China

By Lü Qiuping, Hu Jinwu and Yuan Huijing

Police in east China’s Jiangxi Province have launched a manhunt after a schoolchild was stabbed to death and another two sustained serious injuries on Friday of October 31, authorities said.

The suspect, who is around 50, attacked the children as they walked home from school at 11 a.m. local time in Luojia Village, Guifeng Township in Yiyang County, a spokesman with the county’s publicity department said.

The suspect fled to a nearby mountain.

An 8-year-old boy died at the scene while his classmates are receiving intensive care in hospital, the spokesman said.

According to the publicity department, the suspect had been released from prison in April.

The investigation continues.

 

 

 

 

Updated!!!

NANCHANG

>>  3 schoolchildren stabbed in east China

By Lü Qiuping, Hu Jinwu and Yuan Huijng

Police in east China’s Jiangxi Province have launched a manhunt after two schoolchildren were stabbed to death and another sustained serious injuries on Friday of October 31.

The suspect attacked the children as they walked home from school at 11:45 a.m. in Luojia Village in Yiyang County, Shangrao City, a spokesman with the county publicity department said.

The suspect fled into nearby countryside and police are yet to find the weapon.

An eight-year-old boy died at the scene and another child died in hospital.

The injured boy, six years old, has been transferred to a hospital in Shangrao City for treatment.X According to the publicity department, the suspect was released from prison in April.

 

 

 

 

Updated on November 1, 2014 !!!

NANCHANG

>>  Chinese police continue hunt for child-stabbing suspect

By Zhong Qun, Liiu Bin and Qin Hong

Police in east China’s Jiangxi Province believe they have found the trail of a suspect involved in a stabbing case that left two schoolchildren dead and another seriously injured on Friday morning of October 31.

Police found traces of Zhang Xiangxi in Liukou Township, Guixi City, after a tip-off on Saturday morning. Zhang allegedly attacked three children as they walked home from school at around 11:45 a.m. in the neighboring Luojia Village in Yiyang County, Shangrao City.

An eight-year-old boy died at the scene and another child died in hospital. The injured student, a six-year-old boy surnamed Zhang, is under intensive care and remains in a coma, according to sources with Shaoren People’s Hospital.

Police are offering 50,000 yuan (8,180 U.S. dollars) in reward for information that leads to the arrest of Zhang.

According to the publicity department, the suspect was released from prison for the second time in April. He lives with his mother and barely talks to local villagers, said Huang Guangming, an official in Luojia Village.

 

 

 

 

Chinese FM meets officials to attend int’l conference on Afghanistan

 

 

Chinese FM meets officials

to attend int’l conference on Afghanistan

 

By Wang Huihui and Bai Jie

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Thursday of October 30 met with senior officials to attend the Fourth Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing, slated to open on Friday.

When meeting with his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad Osmani, Wang hoped the meeting to bear positive results.

Wang and Osmani will co-chair the 4th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

Hailing the successful visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to China this week, Wang said Chinese and Afghan leaders reached consensus on deepening bilateral ties, which charted the course of the future development of the relationship and made the plan of bilateral cooperation in various areas.

“This shows the support China gives to Afghanistan and the importance China attaches to the relationship,” Wang told Osmani.

He called on both sides to implement the consensus so as to further promote bilateral relations.

Afghanistan is currently facing with three major tasks of political reconciliation, economic reconstruction and security transition, said Wang. The future of Afghanistan is owned by the Afghan people, but also relies on supports from the international community and neighboring countries, he added.

Osmani said he believed that the current China visit of Afghan president would deepen traditional friendship between the two countries and intensify bilateral cooperation.

He thanked China for hosting the meeting, adding that Afghanistan is willing to closely cooperate with China on the meeting.

Ghani is paying a four-day state visit to China since Tuesday, his first foreign visit since taking office last month.

The meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is the first significant international conference on Afghanistan since the sworn-in of the new Afghan government in late September.

Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives from the member states and supporting parties of the Istanbul Process will attend the meeting, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“By hosting this conference, China hopes to showcase the world’s support to the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan, and build consensus of regional countries on strengthening cooperation on Afghanistan and jointly safeguarding security and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said last week.

Also on Thursday, Wang met with the top UN envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis, who is also here to attend the meeting.

Wang said China hopes the meeting could send a clear signal that the international community supports the political reconciliation process of Afghanistan, and would help the war-torn country to enhance capacity-building, “as this is the key to realize an Afghanistan governed by the Afghan people.”

“China supports the United Nations in continuing to stay in Afghanistan and play a bigger role, ” Wang said.

Kubis said the new Afghan president’s China visit and the foreign ministers’ meeting here are welcomed and valued by the international community.

The United Nations is willing to work with China to help Afghanistan realize national peace, stability, development and reconciliation.

When meeting with John Podesta, Counselor to U.S. President Barack Obama, Wang said that “to realize lasting peace and sustainable development for Afghanistan serves our mutual interests and the interests of the international community.”

“China is willing to strengthen communication and cooperation with the U.S. to play a constructive role facilitating political reconciliation, peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, ” Wang said.

Podesta, also head of the U.S. delegation to the Istanbul Process meeting, said the U.S. appreciates the valuable support that China has given to the new Afghan government and its effort for a successful meeting in Beijing. He said the U.S. is willing to work with China to promote peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.

Wang also met with foreign ministers or senior diplomatic officials from Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The meeting will take place on Friday, amid Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s state visit to China.

In November 2011, China, Russia, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries reached an agreement in Turkey known as the Istanbul Process, presenting a new vision for regional cooperation for a secure and stable Afghanistan. Enditem

 

 

 

NEWS ANALYSIS

Afghans pin hope on China to play

proactive role in stabilizing Afghanistan

 

By Abdul Haleem

 

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, after assuming office one month ago, began his first official state visit to China and inked four cooperation agreements on Tuesday of October 28 to enhance bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries.

Choosing China as President Ahmadzai’s first state visit and receiving a red carpet welcome in Beijing demonstrates a mutual interest for enhancing bilateral ties, according to some Afghan political observers.

In his speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing, President Ahmadzai described China as Afghanistan’s strategic partner and raised the notion that Afghanistan is an insecure country that should be changed and said the conflict-ridden country would soon be transformed into a center of economic activity.

Some Afghan political observers are of the view that China, as an economic power and a good neighbor of Afghanistan, can play a vital role in stabilizing the conflict-ridden country through investment in economic projects there and encouraging Pakistan to give up the alleged support for Taliban militants.

Some Afghans believe that Taliban insurgents’ safe havens are in Pakistan, a claim rebuffed by Islamabad as groundless.

Ebraheem Darwishian, a Kabul University professor, said he opined that the main reason for continued instability in Afghanistan is the high rate of unemployment and poverty, adding that China by investing in economic projects in Afghanistan, can create job opportunities and thus help stabilize the country.

“Since the conflicts and insecurity halt investment in Afghanistan which is the victim of terrorism, and China is also experiencing the terror challenge as well, it would benefit both countries to tackle the terror challenge jointly,” he said during a interview with Xinhua.

China has contributed hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to Afghanistan’s reconstruction process since 2002. According to the joint statement signed during President Ahmadzai’s visit, China will provide 500 million yuan (81.8 million U.S. dollars) in grant assistance to the Afghan government for 2014 and a further 1.5 billion yuan in the next three years (2015-2017).

During the visit, President Ahmadzai had meetings with Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. He would also attend the fourth ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Oct.31, hosted by China.

Aimed at boosting regional cooperation for strengthening security in Afghanistan and in its near and extended neighbors, the Heart of Asia process was launched in Turkey in November 2011.

Afghanistan needs China’s long-term support in the wake of NATO- led forces’ 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, said Darwishian.

With the withdrawal of the U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan, the financial cooperation of the troops’ contributing nations with the alliance will decline dramatically.

Observers believe that the prime need of Afghans is peace; no one will invest a penny in Afghanistan in the absence of peace.

China as a big power can help Afghanistan to achieve lasting peace and economic stability, said Samimullah Samim, an Afghan legislator.

 

 

 

 

 

China welcomes Obama’s visit

 

 

China welcomes Obama’s visit

 

By Liu Dongkai

 

China welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama to China and the 22nd APEC economic leaders’ meeting in Beijing next month, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing on Thursday of October 30.

Hong told a regular press briefing that Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama will discuss the new relationship between the two countries and international issues of common concern, including joint action on Ebola, terrorism and climate change.

“We hope that through this visit, the two sides will enhance strategic trust, reduce strategic uncertainty and increase strategic cooperation so as to advance the new type of relationship between China and the United States,” Hong said.

Hong said China opposes all forms of terrorism and it is ready to cooperate with the rest of the international community to this respect.

International anti-terrorism cooperation should give full play to the role of the UN and its Security Council and abide by the principles and guidelines of the UN Charter. The fight against terrorism should also respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, he added.

Hong said anti-terror efforts should address both the phenomenon and causes of terrorism, not apply double standards or focus on any particular ethnic group.

 

 

 

 

NEWS ANALYSIS

U.S. to seek broader cooperation

during Obama’s China visit

 

By Yi Aijun

 

With U.S. President Barack Obama set to visit China in November, Washington is seeking to further expand bilateral cooperation, analysts say.

The two sides “will try to expand cooperation in areas where they actually have converging and overlapping interests,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Speaking at a seminar organized Thursday by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, another Washington-based think tank, she said Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will try to find ways to work together on issues like Afghanistan and the Ebola epidemic.

China is set to host a foreign ministers’ conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Beijing on Friday, and both Washington and Beijing are contributing to the battle against Ebola.

The United States and NATO are scheduled to withdraw most of their combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, leaving Kabul with such major tasks as political reconciliation, economic reconstruction and security transition.

“What needs to be is find common ground where you have overlapping interests you try to work together and accomplish something, and where you have differences you have to manage them,” Glaser said at the forum.

Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, said Washington and Beijing will aim for goals “realistic and achievable” for the last two years of the Obama administration.

Obama will be in Beijing for this year’s informal leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, slated for Nov. 10-11, as well as a visit to China.

Both Pollack and Glaser spoke of a better military-to-military relationship between the United States and China.

“In the last several years, the development of military-to-military relationship has been more pronounced and more sustained than any time in a number of years,” observed Pollack.

Glaser pointed to more “candid” dialogue as well as an up-tick in military exchanges, joint exercises and confidence-building measures between the two military forces.

She said the U.S. strategy of re-balance toward the region over the years has soured China’s attitude toward Washington, but it has not substantially undermined bilateral cooperation.

“Our core interests really don’t completely converge,” Glaser added. “I think we should start talking about a new type of U.S.-China relationship.”

At a regular press briefing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Xi and Obama will discuss the new relationship between the two countries and international issues of common concern, including joint action on Ebola, terrorism and climate change.

“We hope that through this visit, the two sides will enhance strategic trust, reduce strategic uncertainty and increase strategic cooperation, so as to advance the new type of relationship between China and the United States,” Hong said.